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State to establish a research work repository centre

The National Research Fund (NRF) has embarked on the process of setting up a National Research Repository project in the country that will store research papers, data, articles, and journals.

The state-of-the art technology research repository set for commissioning in February 2024 will provide policymakers, researchers, and academia with data and insights, facilitate the dissemination of research findings needed by industries and innovators, and promote collaboration opportunities among researchers locally and internationally.

Principal Secretary of the State Department of Higher Education and Research, Dr. Beatrice Inyangala, who commended the British Council for partnering with NRF in the development of the project, said it will empower scholars, scientists, educators, and students to contribute to a collective repository of human understanding due to its open access, a catalyst for change that makes research freely available.

“This openness has the potential to drastically speed up the pace of research, removing bureaucratic and financial barriers that often impede scholarly progress,” she said.

The PS, who was speaking during a stakeholder’s Consultative Workshop  to discuss the development of the National Research Repository on Thursday at a Nairobi hotel, said the repository will not only be a storehouse of documents but also a platform that increases dissemination and improves accessibility of research.

“By encouraging the reuse of research data, we create a self-sustaining loop of inquiry and confirmation that enhances the integrity of all future research in terms of quality, relevance, and applicability,” said Dr. Inyangala.

She at the same time stressed the need to contextualise the repository within the nation’s broader national agenda and particularly the bottom-up economic transformation agenda in the areas of agriculture transformation, micro, small, and medium enterprises, housing and settlement, healthcare, the digital superhighway, and the creative economy to make it a real-time tool for economic and social advancement.

“The repository aligns perfectly with the Kenya Kwanza government’s commitment to digitising our public services,” stated Dr. Inyangala.

Speaking at the event, the NRF Chairman, Prof. Emeritus Ratemo Michieka, said the establishment of the repository holds great importance for the Kenyan government, researchers, and various stakeholders within the academic and research communities.

He said the project will empower the government, researchers, and various stakeholders to spearhead national development, promote collaboration, and elevate the quality of education and research within the country.

“It will help the government formulate and implement effective policies and strategies and local industries, innovators, and private sectors to create new technologies, products, and services, identify opportunities for collaboration with academia, and make informed decisions,” said the Chairman.

He called upon research institutions, universities, researchers, and private entities to actively participate in and support the initiative.

“We urge you to deposit your research outputs in the National Research Repository to bolster the utilisation of research findings and foster growth and prosperity in the country,” urged Prof. Michieka.

On his part, the NRF Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Dickson Andala, said the comprehensive online knowledge resource will serve multiple functions and cater to various stakeholders in the research and innovation ecosystem.

Prof. Andala assured that NRF will ensure that all research materials in the repository are easily found and accessible and that each item will be assigned a unique identifier, making it easy to locate.

“We are laying the groundwork to ensure that data will be reusable, adequately annotated, and compliant with community standards to promote future research and to avoid unnecessary duplication,” said the CEO.

He announced that NRF has completed a comprehensive stakeholder mapping exercise and has identified 30 Kenyan universities and research institutions endowed with rich repositories on land, water, and energy thematic areas.

“At least 24 out of the 30 targeted institutions have nominated focal persons, of whom 15 have been drawn from private and public universities and nine from research institutions,” he announced.

NRF has partnered with Kenya Education Network to install and customise D-space software and provide the necessary cloud infrastructure.

He added that data collection tools are ready and that training for data collectors will commence soon.

The National Research Fund is mandated with the responsibility of compiling and maintaining a national database of research and innovation to enable discovery and innovation in research.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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